Q: When you practice up at the stadium, how much of an effect does that have on the field for Sunday?
HALEY: “I don’t know, you’d have to ask the experts. That field will get some different play from different avenues so it’s just another time that you’ve got 60 people running around. This time of year it’s a lot of special effects anyway I think.”
Q: Does it help that they’ve put down new sod on the middle of the field?
HALEY: “It didn’t look like we affected that too much which was good. That middle strip is really nice but the edges are good. I think it’s just so important to our guys getting more and more comfortable up there and like today was a good windy day, cold, kind of felt like a game-day type atmosphere as far as the weather and there’s something to be gained there I think for us.”
Q: Will there ever be a time when you talk about playoffs or do you only talk about playoffs once Week 17 ends?
HALEY: “We’re playing our fourth game of the third quarter trying to get to three (wins). Three gives us a chance to reach our goal. Like I’ve said, we’ve done it once, we didn’t the other time and we had a real opportunity to and we started this quarter not so hot but we bounced back and now we’ve got a chance to finish it and try to get to three which will be real big for us.”
Q: Do you think that the whole handshake thing took some of the pressure off your guys coming into this week because most of the focus was on you and not on the team after the lopsided loss?
HALEY: “I can’t answer. I do know that I’ve recognized multiple times that we got beat up pretty good in that game and the good thing with playing right away, turning around in a couple weeks – less than 20 days – and playing again is that you get a chance to at least be more competitive and that’s what I know our guys are excited about, to just try to go and be better this time around because we were pretty bad the first time around. If you can go out and be better at least you could get that out of your craw?”
Q: How do you feel about WR
HALEY: “First I’ve heard of it. As far I’m concerned I think I make those decisions, but I’ll have to see if that’s fact or not.”
Q: The first time you guys played Denver you were kind of limping in the secondary and they hit some big passes. It looks like you’re going to be limping again. Does that help your guys at all in adjusting for this game because they’ve already matched up against them when they were a little beat up?
HALEY: “Like I said, when you do have some people miss or you think they’re going to miss sometimes you’re able to get guys some developmental work. It’s been a long time since training camp, long time since the bye week when some of these guys that had just been running cards have gotten any chance to run our defense or our offense or special teams for that matter. When there are some blips, guys have to be in there practicing. To me I look at that as a chance for guys to develop and get better playing our schemes and techniques. That’s the good thing – there are some guys that now have some good at least practice experience and sometimes game experience under their belt. The secondary situation has just been that spot where we can’t quite get everybody back and it’s kind of just domino affect type of deal. Guys are working hard doing all the things necessary to take care of their body and be as ready to go as possible. We’ll just have to see. I’m sure that area there will be an area that we’re working the guys out right up to the last minute.”
Q: Now that the offense is more multi-dimensional than it has been earlier in the season, so you think that your run game can be even more effective than it has been because teams can’t just key on the running game?
HALEY: “I think our vision of our team when we started here was to be a balanced team. That’s the way I believe that you have a chance to be a good team week-in and week-out, year-in and year-out and I know our staff believes that way – to be balanced, to be able run efficiently and throw the ball and sometimes it’s in reverse order but that’s been the goal from the start and the key thing is we’re continuing to just make progress. The more balanced we are and the more we feel balanced when plays are being called and I think even from the mentality of our players, that’s better. I think balance is better because it gives you some versatility and we’re going to play how we think we have to play each week to win. Some weeks it’s going to require more running; some weeks it’s going to require more passing; sometimes it’s going to require perfect balance; sometimes it’s going to require the opposite of what we thought it was going to require. That’s why we practice, that’s why we work, that’s why it’s very critical for our staff to see continued progress from everybody. We’re in the middle of that process of progress.”
Q: What concerns you most about Denver?
HALEY: “I don’t think I could make it one thing specifically. I think that what we have to go off of is the last game because that was against us and that was the way they planned to play the last time. I can’t see them changing a whole bunch with the success they had, at least offensively versus our defense. They ran the ball for double digits early and often and like I said, that made us have to focus efforts in some spots you’d rather not be focusing them and then we just couldn’t recover from the start. Offensively, like I said, they got some big stops early that maybe we could’ve kept possession of the ball a little longer had we not had a critical penalty here or there or executed a little better. Then the second half of that game was pretty much over most of the second half. Like I’ve said, I think some positive did come out of that for our team, as tough and ugly of a game as that was; I think we grew a little bit as a team.”
Q: Coach Weis talked about the third and six play that you converted but RB
HALEY: “You just don’t know. You don’t know Josh. That ball, I think Jamaal converted and had it somewhere into their territory, I know that, and once you get field position like that you don’t know what’s going to happen – there’s no way for me to tell how the game is going to go. It went the way it went and we weren’t very good in very many spots. That’s what we’ve been working so hard on the past few weeks and I feel like we’ve made some progress and like I said, I thought we had a good day’s practice today. We had the pads on for a little while and then we took them off and had a good tempo practice from that point on. I felt like today really was one of our better Fridays and we’ll see if we can carry that into the weekend.”
Q: Is it fair to say that DE
HALEY: “No, I don’t think it would be fair to say that. I think Tyson has had a little bad luck this year with when he got dinged up because I thought leading into that game through the preseason he was really making progress – it was obvious progress. We’ve had increased competition at the position and I like the way that our defensive line is developing. They’re going to be put to the test this week, this will be their biggest test of the year because when you do have a team that throws as well as this team throws, like I said, you need to as much as you can allow, at least seven or eight bodies to focus on the run and the rest to focus on the pass because they do such a great job of play action and some of those things. This will be their biggest test. Tyson was making tremendous progress as was I feel the entire defensive line. We picked up DT
Q: Do you worry that with continued success that I’m sure you hope he has and the team has that WR
HALEY: “I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I’m joking with you Nick (laughing). Success is an obstacle of success and all I can go by is the fact that Dwayne along with everybody on our team, especially the young, second, third, fourth-year guys have really bought in. They’ve made it clear they want to be a part of something here that hasn’t been done in a little while and they’re willing to sacrifice and work and he clearly has shown that and is doing the things necessary to be part of a good team and I have not seen any faltering of that from any of the guys with some of the success that we’ve had. Like I said, our focus is on trying to get to three wins in this quarter and I know that’s Dwayne’s focus. He’s continuing to work. He had another very good week of practice so I would expect him to try to keep getting better.”
Q: With QB
HALEY: “I think we’ve coached Matt like everybody else – pretty hard. I’m not talking about how we’ve talked about him, I’m talking about how we coach him and Matt has been coached very hard from day one, I can attest to that. He is pushed to the limit really every day and he’s responded well to that. The I think you’re talking about, what we ask our quarterbacks to do on any vertical route like that is to keep the ball in play. The fact is I believe the ball was thrown out of bounds where that’s what we cannot have and it doesn’t matter when that play would’ve occurred, if it were talked about or were asked about, I’m sure I would say the ball’s got to be in play, we’ve got to keep it in play because I’ve always believed that if the ball’s in play, it’s always hard to just yell at a quarterback to throw a better ball but if he keeps it in play you can get after the receiver now if he doesn’t make the play. If it’s in play and it’s in his circle of success then we would expect the receiver to make the play.”
Q: So early in the season, that’s not something where you say ‘we didn’t turn the ball over?’
HALEY: “I don’t know that we’ve ever talked specifics like that. Like you said, I don’t know exactly what Charlie said. I’m assuming the play he’s talking about, I remember one we threw out of bounds that we didn’t keep in play and that’s the bottom line – keep the ball in play because we’ve got receivers who will have a chance to make those but if it’s out of bounds, then we’ll never have a chance.”
Q: Charlie (Weis) said RB Jamaal (Charles) is feeling really good right now physically. As the head coach, has it worked out almost perfectly the way you guys have used Jamaal and RB
HALEY: “I don’t know how Jamaal feels, that’s probably for Jamaal to say. We’ve had a plan here that we’re pretty excited about at the running back position and we’re still trying to develop at that position and get better and part of that plan is to use our guys and their versatility to the best of our ability to help us win and help us be effective running the football. I think we’ve had a bigger average earlier in the year, some of those things, but I’m not really concerned with that. I’m concerned with how we run the football to win and a bunch of our wins, how we’ve been able to run it efficiently has helped us determine the end result of the game. It’s going to take everybody and I think I’ve made that very clear, we’re trying to utilize all of our resources.”